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Old 2014-08-03, 05:37 PM   #1
Blackjack
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Default Comic Review: Regeneration One #97 [uploaded]

Transformers Regeneration One #97: The War to End All Wars, Part 2
18 December 2013
Written by: Simon Furman
Pencils by: Guido Guidi
Inks by: Stephen Baskerville
Colours by: John-Paul Bove
Letters by: Chris Mowry
Edited by: John Barber

Synopsis: Grimlock watches the newly-constructed ‘ghetto’ that the Demons are rounded up in, and reacts in disgust at the treatment of the Demons. Grimlock feels responsible for bringing them up into the surface. The Demons gather around a crude drawing of Primus’ face on a wall. Swoop observes that the Demons have suddenly turned timid, and wonders if they are biding their time.

The Presidium: Rodimus Prime talks with his ranking officers over the appearance of Jhiaxus’ massive fleet. Perceptor is unable to scan the ships, so Nightbeat and Bumblebee propose inviting Jhiaxus to Cybertron. They do so, though Rodimus takes precautions in the form of snipers and security guards. Jhiaxus and his personal guard of ‘Primum Fugae’ arrive on an advanced version of the space bridge. Rodimus asks to talk in somewhere private with Jhiaxus, and Jhiaxus makes it clear he’s aware of the snipers and notes the difference of Rodimus’ leadership with Optimus’. While the two leaders head off, the Primum Fugae transform and fly off.

Nebulos: Having finishing their end of the Space Bridge on Earth, Optimus Prime’s team contacts Quickmix on Nebulos, ready to synchronize the two halves of the bridges with each other. Meanwhile, the Nebulan scientist reintegrate Fortress Maximus’ original head to a reconstructed body, and the Autobot screams in pain for a moment before seemingly returning normal, though with a dark glint in his eyes.

Nova Point: Rodimus asks Jhiaxus what he has been doing while away from Cybertron, and why Primus considers him a problem. Jhiaxus brushes off Primus, having long since dismissed their creator and considering him as flawed as they are. Jhiaxus had chosen to sculpt the universe into order with his own power, and displays a hologram of a Hub Network, a massive network of mechanical planets interconnected together. Jhiaxus asks Rodimus to add Cybertron into the Hub, while Rodimus realizes that the worlds are made from pre-existing ones. Rodimus demands how many of them has life, and Jhiaxus replies that it depends on how one would classify life. An angered Rodimus slams Jhiaxus into a wall. Jhiaxus easily overpowers Rodimus, telling the Prime that he makes this offer only once. Easily overpowering Rodimus, Bumblebee and Jetfire, Jhiaxus blows Nova Point apart and flies off.

While the meeting is happening, the Primum Fugae lands outside the Demons’ settlement. Deciding that while they are told not to attack Cybertron’s ‘dominant strain’, no such restriction is placed on the chaotic Demons and they begin purging them. The Dinobots come to their defense, but three of the Primum Fugae easily prove more than a match for the Dinobots, as even Grimlock is knocked down. Sludge is stabbed through the chest by Firecrest. An army of Autobots led by Ultra Magnus arrive to back the Dinobots up, but just as the Primum Fugae prepare to battle, they are summoned by Jhiaxus to depart the planet.

Rodimus, having survived the explosion of Nova Point, is given a status update – no Autobot lives are lost. Nightbeat deduces that there may be a way to hurt them, and Rodimus vows to take the fight to them.

Space: Shockwave inquires Starscream about the identity of Jhiaxus, and as Starscream starts to be overtaken by the Underbase, says that Jhiaxus is ‘one of the five’, and that there will be a reckoning.

Featured Characters: Grimlock, Demons, Swoop, Sludge, Slag, Snarl, Jetfire, Rodimus Prime, Perceptor, Nightbeat, Bumblebee, Tracks, Sideswipe, Sureshot, Crosshairs, Firecrest, Hawk, Hook, Nightjar, Wryneck, Jhiaxus, Optimus Prime, Landfill, Scoop, Quickmix, Borx, Fortress Maximus, Ultra Magnus, Skids, Hardhead, Blurr, Huffer, First Aid, Underbase-Starscream, Shockwave’s Voice

Review:
”What wrong with this picture?”
There are, again, some good concepts going on. I do like the image of the Demons being sequestered inside a ramshackle shelter which all too well captures similar images from real life. And I do like how Jhiaxus is basically a semi-atheist sort of dude, who believes that Primus is flawed, and that he could do better. Despite my huge love for the Generation 2 comics, I do quite like this fresh take on Jhiaxus – certainly this embodies the original Jhiaxus’ personality (minus the barely-controlled rage bit stolen by Scorponok) while still managing to keep the concept fresh. I do quite like his swagger as he just brushes off everything the Autobots throw at him. And while the issue takes quite a while to introduce Jhiaxus and how badass the Cybertronian Empire is, I’m not quite sure if it’s something you want to do four issues before the end. Generally you don’t introduce your final villain fifteen minutes before the movie ends. Again, this all stems from Furman just putting all the bad guys in a list and going Megatron, Starscream, Shockwave, Scorponok, Galvatron, Soundwave, Bludgeon… and only now arriving at Jhiaxus.

We get a short interlude with Fortress Maximus returning to his body and basically being possessed by the Anti-Matrix, as well as Starscream slowly being overtaken by the Underbase and Shockwave basically being nothing but that dude who talks to Starscream. You just wonder why Furman went through all the trouble bringing Starscream and Shockwave through nearly twenty issues of Regeneration One if none of them are going to behave as Starscream and Shockwave beyond that time when they booted Galvatron off the Ark. Also, why would you have Fort Max and Starscream around and yet turn them into puppets of plot devices? Fort Max is still excusable, being sorta dead for a long while and basically treated as a power mushroom to humans like Spike and Galen and never really being a character since Headmasters… but we got Starscream every issue from nearly the start of Regeneration One until now, and all that buildup ends up being thrown away in favour for the Underbase, it seems.

Also, we get massive padding with the Primum Fugae massacring the Demons and showing how good they are by beating down the Dinobots. Oh no, they beat Grimlock with one shot! They stabbed Sludge through the chest! It’s a rather effective, if cheap, way to show how dangerous these new enemies are, I admit… granted they would prove to be shit the very next issue, but right now they are sorta badass even if they look silly. One of them is holding a giant saltshaker for crying out loud! It’s still obvious padding and obvious ‘hey these bad guys are stronger than the good guys’. Plus by massacring a good chunk of the Demons (it’s shown later on they didn’t get all of them) that kind of screws up the longer-foreshadowed plot of reunification with the Demons now doesn’t it?

Nightbeat and Bumblebee are identikit. You can just switch one with the other and no one would notice. They’ve basically taken over the role of the smart Autobot. I don’t particularly care. Oh noes, Sludge gets stabbed through the chest! I also don't care, since the non-Grimlock Dinobots are basically interchangeable anyway at this point. And it's explicitly said that there are no Autobot casualties, would it be remiss of me to point out yet another reuse of a Maximum Dinobots plot?

Art is still nice though a step down from Guidi’s normal standard for these issues especially in the Demons/Primum Fugae parts. Overall, a rather solid intro for both Jhiaxus and the Cybertronian Empire, though it’s yet another one that feels really padded out. And while this issue alone is kind of a decent one, it starts feeling tired out. With the Underbase replacing Starscream it's also blindingly obvious what's going to be Jhiaxus' downfall.

Also, I can’t help but wince at the sheer amount of things that need to be resolved in three issues – Jhiaxus, the Hub, Spike, Fortress Maximus, Galvatron, the Demons, the Primus head, the Anti-Matrix, Starscream-Underbase, Shockwave, Rodimus’ visions… while there are some overlap, you just know at least a good chunk of these plot threads will end up unsatisfying and aborted. All we can hope is that Regeneration One’s grand finale isn’t another formulaic one like the end to the Megatron, Scorponok and Bludgeon arcs.

(2 out of 5)

Notes:
The five members of the Primum Fugae have different head designs and weapons on their right arms. Doesn't really matter which is which because they have the same personality and none ever show up again.

Rodimus Prime, dying in a far-flung future reflecting about the past, is a staple seen in the ‘Aspects of Evil’ series of the UK comics.

The Space Bridge being built on Earth and Nebulos, resemble the Marvel comics’ own unique and very literal take of a Space Bridge.

Unlike his G2 counterpart, Jhiaxus is no mere troop general but the ruler of the Cybertronian Empire.

Jhiaxus’ modern Space Bridge is basically a portal that opens in mid-air without any mechanism, similar to the Space Bridges seen in more modern Transformers reboots like Armada and Prime.

The Hub Network was glimpsed a couple issues back, and was merely hinted at in the Generation 2 comics. While Simon Furman did write a fanfiction called ‘Alignment’ that resolves the G2 story, here it seems that the Hub is going to be given a different function, though its origin – a group of planets wiped out of life, cyberformed and turned into miniature Cybertrons – is still the same. It’s also termed the ‘Hub Network’ instead of merely ‘the Hub’, probably referencing Hasbro’s very own TV channel, the Hub Network.

The Nebulans’ science center is called the Technodrome, a reference to a fortress from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Starscream absorbed the power of the Underbase in Transformers #50, and it seems the power of the Underbase lingers even in his post-death body.

Goofs:
Optimus calls Scoop ‘Landfill’. It could be a case of misattributed dialogue, or bad art, or anything.

Why would the humans (especially Spike) allow additional Autobots Scoop and Landfill to work on Earth?
 

Last edited by Blackjack; 2014-08-05 at 07:29 AM.
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